The Fresno State Rodeo Team participated in their first rodeo of the 2022 season held at the Clovis Rodeo grounds on March 4th and 5th this past weekend. The Clovis Rodeo, as they do every year, donated the grounds for this event.
Riders came in from multiple schools from the western area including Cal Poly, two schools from Nevada, and Cuesta College, the community college near San Luis Obispo County. Despite the rain on Friday afternoon and a few droplets on Saturday morning, the grounds were just soft enough for riders to compete, says treasurer for Central Valley Rodeo, Brenda Armstrong.
“Yesterday’s event went really well, we had sprinkles on and off but the kids were able to compete with no problem. Our arena actually looks pretty good this morning even with the rain we had.” It was evident that unless a raging storm would have come about, these riders were not going to let anything stand in their way of competing again.
One detail mentioned by many spectators to the event was just how devoted each of these riders from different schools were to both their programs and to riding and competing in rodeos. To the rodeo population, this is the biggest difference from other sports and clubs around college campuses. To spectators, the riders, bulldoggers, cowboys, and participants of the rodeo merely work harder, many of them having to wake up to early mornings to train with their steed while then moving on to classes to earn their Bachelors’ Degrees.
This was the same for Fresno State Rodeo Head Coach Uhuru Adem.
Adem grew up raising cattle, riding, and tending to other ranch responsibilities all the while attending Fresno State and earning a degree. While his quotes and his time were shortened by the ongoing events, Adem answered questions with words that held much virtue.
“So far, so good. Good weather, so far, so good. Everybody’s been safe.”
These were the remarks Adem had to say about the Fresno State opening rodeo this past weekend. Coach Adem holds some general optimism for the upcoming season, and responded simply but firmly with one goal in mind, “Win. I’d probably say, win. Keep it simple. Win.”
Adem looks forward to competing this year and proclaimed, “Our school is kind of a powerhouse. So building off that just trying to win every year. It’s kind of like, winning one time is easy, winning again is harder. So just keeping a winning mentality.”
Of course, the Fresno State coach remarked that COVID had a tremendous effect on his team from the 2020 season until now, as it had for rodeos up and down the western region.
“[It’s affected us] Horribly. But it’s affected everybody.”
Brenda Armstrong had this to say about COVID. “COVID had a real detrimental effect on this program. The kids couldn’t compete during the 2020 season which morphed into the fall of 2020.”
She then went on to state that there were not any rodeos set up for team competition even in the Spring of 2021. Despite this, the program was still able to send five student-athletes to the national finals.
Armstrong believes that the success of this season will be dependent on the success of riders attracting other riders into the program. “When you have a good coach, and you have good teammates, then other good student-athletes will come.”
In total, the Fresno State Rodeo Team’s first event was a grandstand full of spectators including families, reporters, fans, and aficionados of the rodeo. As people are looking to get away from past grievances and looking to fulfill their time with entertainment, the Fresno State Rodeo and other Rodeo teams competing up and down the western region continue the legacy of Rodeoing.
Fresno State Bulldogger Rodeo winners:
- Mitchell Parham-Second Place Bareback Riding
- McKenna Wood-Third Place Breakaway Roping
- Reed Neely-Second Place Saddle Bronc Riding
- Machaela Sinclair-Second Place Goat Tying
- Hailey Wilbur-Fourth Place Goat Tying
- Cole Dodds-Fourth Place Calf Roping
- Maren Powers-Second Place Barrel Racing
- Women’s Team Placed Second Overall
- Men’s Team Placed Fourth Overall
Fresno State’s next event is at the West Hills College Rodeo on March 18th.